Problem Solvers Caucus Endorses Bipartisan Agricultural Workers Bill
WASHINGTON – The House Problem Solvers Caucus, a group dedicated to finding bipartisan consensus on important issues, has endorsed a bill to extend earned visa status to individuals who can show they’ve been regularly employed as an agricultural laborer in the past two years.
The bill, H.R. 4916, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019, specifically expands the H-2A foreign guest-worker program, so farmers and ranchers can easily hire workers.
The earned visa status would also apply to the spouses and minor children of the ag worker.
Problem Solvers Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., led the effort to draft the legislation with Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., working closely with Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, and Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.
They did so, they said, because they recognize that farmers and ranchers across the United States are in desperate need of a high-quality, reliable workforce, and that the current H-2A guest worker program is in need of meaningful, bipartisan reform.
“For many years, farmers and farmworkers from the Central Coast to the center of America to the East Coast have faced continued uncertainty when it comes to agriculture labor.,” said Rep. Panetta.
“That is why for the past nine months, Democratic and Republican members of Congress, including members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, have been working tirelessly with farmers and farmworkers to craft a bipartisan solution,” he said. “The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is a big, and bipartisan, step in the right direction that can provide certainty in our agriculture communities and confidence in our Congress.”
“I’m grateful for the Problem Solvers’ Caucus support for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, said Rep. Upton, the bill’s co-author. “As I have listened to local farmers across southwest Michigan and the nation, labor shortages are one of the most significant challenges they face year after year.”
“American farmers feed the world, and for our farms to effectively produce quality agricultural products, we need to ensure there is a reliable workforce for all farms. That means we need real ag labor reform now that is fair and actually works for all concerned, including growers, producers, workers, and consumers,” he said.
The bill takes a two-pronged approach to meet year-round labor needs: creating a new, capped program for employers seeking to bring in temporary workers for year-round needs; and builds off current law dedicating an additional 40,000 employment-based green cards per year for agricultural workers. It also includes mandatory e-verify, new investments in farmworker housing, H-2A wage reform, and streamlined recruiting.
“My father was a farmworker, I spent summers working with him in the fields and I know firsthand how important the labor of those who harvest our food is to this nation,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Agriculture is the number one industry in my district and I have heard countless times from producers about the devastating labor shortage that stems from our broken immigration system. This groundbreaking bipartisan bill creates a lasting solution by providing earned legal status for our existing agricultural workforce, and modernizing the guest worker program to ensure long term industry sustainability that supports farmworkers and growers alike.”
Over 200 organizations have come out in support of this legislation.
In The News
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States would immediately begin turning away Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans... Read More
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States would immediately begin turning away Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the border from Mexico illegally. The new rules expand on an existing effort to stop Venezuelans attempting to enter the U.S., which began in... Read More
WASHINGTON — Despite the inflammatory rhetoric of some lawmakers and the media reports that often parrot it, the surge of... Read More
WASHINGTON — Despite the inflammatory rhetoric of some lawmakers and the media reports that often parrot it, the surge of asylum seekers at the southern border of the U.S. is not a “security threat,” but instead an understandable flow of refugees that must be addressed as... Read More
HAVANA (AP) — The United States Embassy in Cuba is reopening visa and consular services Wednesday, the first time it... Read More
HAVANA (AP) — The United States Embassy in Cuba is reopening visa and consular services Wednesday, the first time it has done so since a spate of unexplained health incidents among diplomatic staff in 2017 slashed the American presence in Havana. The Embassy confirmed this week... Read More
WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday held that Title 42, the pandemic-era rule that restricted migration at the... Read More
WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday held that Title 42, the pandemic-era rule that restricted migration at the southwestern border on public health grounds, will remain in place pending an expedited ruling and future ruling by the justices. In a brief, unsigned order, a... Read More
WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday issued a temporary order granting a request from Republican officials in 19... Read More
WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday issued a temporary order granting a request from Republican officials in 19 states to block the Biden administration from letting Title 42 expire at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday. The order was cheered by the petitioning states as it... Read More
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday granted the Biden administration’s request for a stay of his earlier order, striking... Read More
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday granted the Biden administration’s request for a stay of his earlier order, striking down the controversial Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy that has since allowed authorities to expel more than 2.4 million migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.... Read More